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One of the hardest parts of tiling is cutting the tiles. There are various methods, but by far the easiest is using an electric tile cutter with a wet-cutting diamond blade, such as the Titan TTB336TCB 500W Tile Saw (£39.99, Screwfix,, because you just push the tile through the rotating blade.

The great-value Titan is easy to set up and use and has a maximum cutting depth of 20mm, which is sufficient for most tiles. It cuts quickly, accurately and safely and has lots of user-friendly features. This is the only way to cut tiles!

Of course, the safest option is to buy tiles in store, where you can see what you're getting. Stores will often let you take samples away too and if you do encounter a problem, it's often easier to deal with your local store than trying to get replacements from an internet company.

As well as the better known DIY chains, it's also worth paying a visit to a tile specialist. There are plenty of established independent specialists locally that can give some valuable advice. Often prices are very competitive as they tend to order direct from the manufacturers, sometimes securing better deals than the larger multiples, and if you're looking for that tile that's a little more unusual, it's more likely to be found at the specialist tile store. Another advantage of buying in store is that you can ensure all the tiles come from the same batch (the batch number should be on the box), which minimises differences in colour and finish.

To work out the number of tiles required, multiply the length by the height of each wall or part wall to be tiled and add them together to

get the total area, plus at least 10% more for breakages, cutting and wastage. (perhaps as much as 20% if going for glass tiles which you'll be doing yourself).

Most tiles are sold per square metre and even if they're not, it should say what the price is per square metre - this is the easiest way to work out the cost. Don't forget to factor in the cost of the tile adhesive and grout, spacers and tools.

The adhesive and grout must be suitable for where you're tiling and the sort of tiles you're using. Most professional tilers like to use powdered products that are mixed with water, but it can be hard to get the right consistency and to judge how much to mix up, which can lead to wastage.

Ready-mixed combined adhesives and grouts produce less waste, but only use them if they're suitable for the job and you want the grout and adhesive to be the same colour.

Life Begins 19

How-to tip

A tiled kitchen, using glass tiles.

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